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Percnodaimon merula

Black mountain ringlet

Pepe pōuri

Photo by Brian Patrick

This sub-alpine and alpine species has wings that act as solar panels, an adaptation evolved for survival in the icy conditions of the Southern Alps. Eggs are laid on stones on the mountain slopes and as they are hit by the sun, the stones act as incubators. This unique behaviour is shared with a very few species from the Himalayas and Alps of Europe.

Family
Nymphalidae
Biostatus
Endemic
Host Plant
Poa colensoi (grass species) growing among rocks.
Egg
Deposited on stones on the alpine slopes. The stones, when warm, act as an incubator.
Larva
1-8 months.
Pupa
2-3 weeks, colour merging with the surrounding stones. Can be found up to a metre away from their host plant.
Adult/Imago
Black/brown with black and white circles at the end of the wings.
Wingspan
40-55 mm
Overwinters
Complete life cycle can take 2-3 years.
Range
800-2500 metres

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